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tv   Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting  CSPAN  December 9, 2012 12:00am-12:30am EST

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great tyrannies. we don't know that in the hour of need, you gave at men and women the strength and resolve to stand no matter the cost. made those brave souls who still remain here with us feel today your hand of strength. for those who remained with us today, received renewed hope and awareness of our gratitude for their bravery and sacrifice. we asked for york and seizing grace and bountiful blessings on them -- your unceasing grace and bountiful blessings on them. as we forge forward, committed
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to building superlative global unity and peace. amen. >> ladies and gentlemen, please be seated. >> our first speaker today is represent as the co-host for today's ceremony for the nationals -- national parks service, mr. robert vogel, superintendent of the national memorial parks. [applause] >> good afternoon. on behalf of the national parks service, it is my pleasure to welcome you to the world war ii memorial, which is dedicated to the valiant soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines who fought
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in that war. as the superintendent of the national mall and memorial park, i have the true honor of serving as the custodian of this memorial. also ensuring that the story of the brave men and women who fought in world war two is told to the millions of visitors who come here each year. we are very pleased to partner with the friends of the national world war ii memorial in that effort, and i would like to thank general kicklighter for his continued friendship. we at the national parks share in your mission to ensure that the legacy and sacrifice of world war ii veterans are not forgotten. i particularly would like to thank admiral winnefeld for being here today. we appreciate all of your service.
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incredible service to our nation. we are very honored that you take time out of your very busy schedule. i understand that he just got off a flight just a short time ago from afghanistan. that is at least two or three hour flight. it was important for him to be here today. we are honored for him to be here with us. there are many honors that come with my job, but there are none that mean more to me then taking part in ceremonies like this. they take the time to recognize the importance of our brave men and women in uniform, both today and in the past. to all the members of our armed forces and the veterans who are here. i am deeply honored and humbled to spend at pearl harbor day with you. i would like to especially
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acknowledge our world war ii veterans who came here today and say, welcome to york memorial. -- your memorial. [applause] there is no tribute, no commemoration, no honor that can truly match the magnitude of your service and your sacrifice. you do have the nation's thanks. is memorial was conceived and built as a way to express our nation's gratitude to the 16 million men and women who met and defeated the greatest threat that the world has ever seen. more than 400,000 men and women gave their lives in that fight, including more than 2300 who were killed at pearl harbor alone. they are all remembered here on
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the field of gold stars behind me. this memorial is meant to ensure that their sacrifice will be remembered in perpetuity when our children and grandchildren to visit this place. they will learn about what it means. hopefully, it will inspire them to also serve their country. we at the national parks service try every day to repay and honor the sacrifice of the men and women who served in world war -- world war ii by caring for this wonderful -- wonderful memorial and by educating our visitors about the importance of world war ii in american history. as the proud son of world war ii veterans myself, i am personally honored to be entrusted with its care. thank you very much. [applause]
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>> thank you, sir. ladies and gentlemen, it is my honor to introduce to you the chairman of the board of the friends of the national world war ii memorial, lieutenant general kicklighter. >> good afternoon. thank you for joining us as we commemorate the 71st anniversary of the attack on pearl harbor. also the beginning of world war two. we want to welcome our very distinguished guests today, admiral sand -- sandy winnefeld, vice chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, our keynote speaker, and we are also honored to have general kelly, chairman of the monuments commission played a major role in helping establish this very special monument. [applause]
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also, it is always good to have bob vogel, our cohost for this, to work together. a special honor to have ban hayes with us, the director of the film "honor flight." there are many other distinguished guests who come today to help give a special welcome to our honored guest, the pearl harbor survivors, and all of our world war ii veterans and there -- and their families. a very warm welcome to all veterans and their families that are with us. a special thank you to those serving in our armed forces and their families. what a magnificent job they have done in iraq and are doing in afghanistan. their performance of duty has been magnificent.
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we cannot say enough about those brave men and women, our heroes. we pause today to remember and honor all the men and women who 71 years ago today, were safeguarding our nation at pearl harbor and other military facilities on the island of oahu in hawaii. on december 7 1941 without warning, the japanese launched a massive air attack against pearl harbor. when the attack ended, almost 3000 americans have lost their lives. a total of 21 ships were demolished, and 188 aircraft were destroyed. most of the aircraft were destroyed before they could become airborne. after the attack, president
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franklin delano roosevelt stated that this day, december the seventh is a day that will live in infamy, and it has. we gathered to remember that attack on pearl arbor -- pearl harbor and remember and honor all of those who served in world war two. it is my pleasure today to represent the friends of the national world war ii memorial. it is an organization that is dedicated to ensuring that we always remember the greatest generation and their service, valor, and sacrifice. all those who supported on the home front -- we worked closely and proudly with the national parks service and the department of defense to bring event like
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this throughout the year and throughout the summer. this memorial is a very sacred cut -- a sacred place where we come to visit, to remember, to reflect, and to commemorate the defining moments of world war two -- world war ii , and to honor those who served on the battlefront and the home front and the families that were left behind. this memorial honors the more than 16 million men and women who served in our armed forces during world war two -- world war ii. more than 400,000 of those men and women never returned home. the additional millions that supported the war efforts from america's arsenal of democracy on this homefront.
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the world war ii generation fought the most destructive war in history. they fought that war against great odds. not only did they fight and win that war and saved this nation, but they literally saved the world. this nation will never forget our world war ii ii -- world war ii veterans and families and especially those who gave all of their tomorrows as an 18 or 19- year-old. it is a very high -- very high price to play so that we can live in this strong, free, and beautiful america that we are proud to call home. god bless our world war ii veterans, their families, and bless all of our veterans. we pray that god will protect those serving in our armed forces and the families they had to leave behind.
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god bless america. thank you very much. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, we are privileged to have with us here today members of the united states marine band brass quintet who will perform a musical salute to our veterans. ♪
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["america the beautiful"]
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[applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, a big round of applause for the united
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states marine band brass quintet. [applause] >> at this time, i would like to introduce to you the producer, the director of the film "honor flight," mr. dan hayes. [applause] >> thank you so much to the friends of the world war ii memorial and the national parks service for having me here today. what an honor to be here with all of you to remember such an important day in our history. it was about three years ago that i wandered down to this memorial with my video camera, right over there by the atlantic heller. i asked a world war ii veterans a pretty simple question -- i said, how is your day going? he looked at me with the utmost
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sincerity in his eyes and said, i could die a happy man now that i have made this trip. that answer was the beginning of an incredible journey for me. it served as an inspiration to make a documentary about communities across the country that have pulled together to send these veterans, now in their 80s and 90s, to see the memorial. these trips are called on our flights, and as many of you know, honor flight is a nonprofit organization that was started by earl morris. it flies world war ii veterans out here to see this beautiful memorial at no cost to the veterans. they fly from 117 cities from across the country and had flown over 100,000 veterans to date. for the past two years, by business partners and our team at freethink media have followed the veterans from the stars and
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stripes organization in milwaukee. there are two veterans here today that are amazing guys who have become my friends. there is julian. [applause] julian and served on the navy -- in the navy. . he is a published poet. he took his first trip to washington d.c. on and on our flight. next, i want to tell you about joe. he is gone -- he is accompanied today by his wife terese. many of you no joke, but you might not know why. his picture was taken in 1945 for the "life magazine." it was called the human
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skeleton, weighing only 70 pounds. his photograph became one of the most iconic images of world war two. it is only fitting that today is joe's 87th birthday. [applause] gio and julian's stories have been submitted to the veterans history project at the library of congress. for years and years, researchers and documentarian's can use those stories for their future projects. these two men represent a less than 2 million world war ii veterans living today, men and women who fought all across the world to defend and protect not only our country from harm, but something much more fundamental, our freedom. freedom is this big lofty ideal, it is a word used a lot in washington, d.c., but i wonder if it has lost its potency. when joe was liberated, there
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was another p.o.w. in the caught right next to him. that soldier died the day after the deliberations took place. the wall behind me remind us all that many paid the ultimate price. those who made it home hugged their families, returned to work, and hardly ever talked about a war again. this memorial has allowed world war ii veterans to open up and share their stories, sometimes for the first time ever. on the day he was liberated, joe was asked about his experience, and he said he learned two things, he learned to pray in a nazi prison camp, and from here on out, every day is a bonus. every day is upon us living in this country of opportunity. that is what i learned making this film and spending time with the men and women who fought in world war two. to paraphrase, to all the veterans who are here today, we will never ever forget your
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legacy. we will never ever forget what you did for this country, and our mission with this film is to continue to share your incredible stories, first to our families and neighborhoods and communities. we promised that by visiting this memorial and seeing our film, children in this country will know the price of freedom and what you did. tonight we begin to fulfill that promise as a joint 2500 people in the constitution hall to continue to honor the service of our world war ii veterans with a special screening of the "honor flight" documentary, which tells the story of julian and joe, as well as others. we will never ever forget what you all did for this country. thank you very much for having me here today. [applause]
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>> it is my privilege to introduce our keynote speaker, admiral sandy winnefeld. admiral winnefeld is serving as the ninth choice -- and vice chairman as the joint chiefs of staff. it is the second highest ranking military officer. admiral winnefeld graduated from georgia tech. he received his commission through the rotc program. he taught us that navies -- he taught at in navy fighters school. he commanded fighter squadron 211, the uss cleveland, the uss enterprise, leading the enterprise for combat enter -- operations in afghanistan immediately following the terrorist attack on september 11, 2001. as commander of the uss theodore roosevelt carrier, he led task
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forces and support operations in operation i recce freedom. he has also commanded nato allied joint command in lisbon. he has served on the joint forces command, tours and the joint staff, aid to the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, an executive assistant to the vice chairman of naval operations. he demanded the north american aerospace command, and u.s. northern command, and being selected as a vice chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. admiral winnefeld is a highly decorated combat leader. ladies and gentlemen, please look, the vice chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, admiral sandy winnefeld. [applause]
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>> afternoon, everybody. great to see you. general kicklighter, thank you for that introduction. mr. vogel, mr.s hayes, good afternoon. what an honor it is to be with you this afternoon. what an honor it is to stand in front of the world war ii and pearl harbor veterans who are here today. i can tell you that as i was listening to the wonderful rendition of "american the beautiful," it struck me what a wonderful idea america is, what a wonderful place america is, and all of you fought for for so long ago, and we deeply appreciate what you did for us back in the 1940's. we will never forget. chaiplan rowan, marine band, friends of the national world war ii memorial, and members of
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the national park service, thank you for helping us recognize a very important day and some very important people. indeed, i offer a very special welcome to all of our world war ii veterans, their families, and to all of our pearl harbor survivors who are here today, many of whom have troubled -- traveled so far to be here today. nice shoes, by the way. we really appreciate it. we thought this afternoon we would remember the tragedy that struck pearl harbor on that infamous date 71 years ago. our nation learned in horror that japanese forces had shattered a peaceful hawaiian sunday morning, killing or wounding over 2400 americans and wrecking a good portion of our
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pacific forces. the tragedy that marked that morning was on on imagine -- and unimaginable event that shocked our nation, but it also stirred a quiet and peace-loving people to action. we honor the bravery and service demonstrated by so many people, so many americans and people from other countries in that conflict. it is appropriate that the memorial honoring the service and sacrifice of some money in that conflict is our setting for today. the gold stars behind me to represent our over 400,000 killed or missing in action as a result of world war two. -- world war ii. serving as a wonderful backdrop for the reit we will lay this afternoon, and to remind us that here on this sacred ground, we mark the price of freedom for this country.
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today, our military is involved in another conflict half a world away. that was as a result of a different surprise attack on american soil that killed nearly 3000 of our fellow americans in one day. there are ties between these two events and the wars that followed. one of which just as the 7th uss enterprise was on her way back to port on december 7, 1941, and later launched the first u.s. strikes of the war against japan at the marshall islands, the current uss enterprise was also on her way home on the 11th of september, 2001. just over three weeks later, she would launch the first strike against al qaeda and the taliban in afghanistan.
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imagine yourself aboard uss enterprise on the night of those first strikes. here is part of what the captain told her crew. good evening, shipmates. the last time americans actually went to war to defend against an attack on our homeland was almost exactly 60 years ago. that was when a treacherous enemy conducted a surprise attack on pearl harbor. during that attack, a different enterprise was at sea on her way home and was ultimately an integral response to that difficult and bloody task of finally defeating an enemy. ever since then, when america has gone to war, it has been to protect freedom and our vital interests and those of our allies. we have not had to defend our homeland since december 7, 1941. however, on september 11, our
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enterprise was at sea on her way home during a treacherous new attack on our country. tonight, the ship named enterprise will again be an integral part of our nation's response. like 1941, this war is a little more personal than defending our vital interests. we are defending our families. electric feeling among that ship's crew had to replicate the feeling felt by so many people in the front row today before their first action in world war two. -- world war ii. i wanted to know that there is a direct connection between pure terrorism -- your heroism and service and the heroism of our wonderful men and women and youth -- in uniform who have struck back in this war -- this work with the cimbri and perseverance that defined your service in world war ii.
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it is exemplified by your presence here today. the men and women here today where the cloth of our nation, they walked confidently in your footsteps. they look up to you. they live your legacy as members of the next greatest generation. you should be proud of them. i know you are. i know i am. today, we pause to honor you and to honor the memory of those who lost in world war two. -- world war ii. we salute those who paved the way for our prosperity and leadership over the past seven decades and in this christmas season, made "it's a wonderful life" a possibility for our families here in this crowd. it has made this


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